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While clearly inferior to optical media, magnetic tape is not too far behind its laser-written brother. Tape media varies greatly from format to format. The larger and thicker broadcast/studio/archival tapes that have been reinforced chemically to repel the elements can last several decades, and there are tapes that can still be read after 30-40 years.
At the other end of the spectrum are consumer formats like VHS, which start to degrade within 10-25 years. Most of the video tapes manufactured in the 1970s and 1980s tend to be more durable than the thinner and cheaper tapes that flooded the market in the 1990s and are still sold new today. There are also various grades of VHS tape, from standard consumer, to advanced consumer, to professional and broadcast grades; the particle density and tape perfection being the primary discrimination between the grades.
The older a tape gets, the more likely it will face problems like oxide shedding and tape-eating bacteria. The replay count will also affect the level of degradation.
VHS tapes owned by consumers and recorded in the 1980s-1990s should last another 10 years on average. There is no need to rush them into transfer. But now is the time to start. They are approaching the end of the life cycle. Take your time and do a good job. There is no need to worry about doing it fast, as they are not rotting apart on the shelf while you “waste time” reading this page.
When it comes to commercially-available movies and shows, just go buy yourself the official DVD release, if one exists. It’s wasteful to try and convert these items. Save self-done transfers and transfer service work for the more precious home movies and other rarities that may have been bought or recorded through the years.